Chapter 11. Safety, Ground Operations, & Servicing

Fire Safety

Anytime current flows, whether during generation or transmission, a byproduct of that flow is heat. The greater the current flow, the greater the amount of heat created. When this heat becomes too great, protective coatings on wiring and other electrical devices can melt, causing shorting, which leads to more current flow and greater heat. This heat can become so great that metals can melt, liquids vaporize, and flammable substances ignite.

An important factor in preventing electrical fires is to keep the area around electrical work or electrical equipment clean, uncluttered, and free of all unnecessary flammable substances.

Ensure that all power cords, wires, and lines are free of kinks and bends which can damage the wire. Never place wires or cords where they will be walked on or run over by other equipment. When several wires inside a power cord are broken, the current passing through the remaining wires increases. This generates more heat than the insulation coatings on the wire are designed to withstand and can lead to a fire.

Closely monitor the condition of electrical equipment. Repair or replace damaged equipment before further use.

Safety Around Compressed Gases

Compressed air, like electricity, is an excellent tool as long as it is under control. A typical nitrogen bottle set is shown in Figure 11-1.

The following “do’s and don’ts" apply when working with or around compressed gases:

  • Inspect air hoses frequently for breaks and worn spots. Unsafe hoses should be replaced immediately.
  • Keep all connections in a “no-leak condition."
  • Maintain in-line oilers, if installed, in operating condition.
  • The system should have water sumps installed and should be drained at regular intervals.
  • Air used for paint spraying should be filtered to remove oil and water.
  • Never use compressed air to clean hands or clothing. Pressure can force debris into the flesh leading to infection.
  • Never spray compressed air in the area of other personnel.
  • Air hoses should be straightened, coiled, and properly stored when not in use.

Many accidents involving compressed gases occur during aircraft tire mounting. To prevent possible personal injury, use tire dollies and other appropriate lifting and mounting devices in mounting or removing heavy aircraft tires.

When inflating tires on any type of aircraft wheels, always use tire cage guards. Because of possible personal injury, extreme caution is required to avoid overinflation of high pressure tires. Use pressure regulators on high pressure air bottles to eliminate the possibility of overinflation of tires. Tire cages need not be used when adjusting pressure in tires installed on aircraft.

Safety Around Hazardous Materials

Material safety diamonds are very important with regard to shop safety. These forms and labels are a simple and quick way to determine the risk and, if used properly with the tags, will indicate what personal safety equipment to use with the hazardous material.

The most observable portion of the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) label is the risk diamond. It is a four color segmented diamond that represents Flammability (Red), Reactivity (Yellow), Health (Blue), and special Hazard (White). In the Flammability, Reactivity, and Health blocks, there should be a number from 0 to 4. Zero represents little or no hazard to the user; 4 means that the material is very hazardous. The special hazard segment contains a word or abbreviation to represent the special hazard. Some examples are: RAD for radiation, ALK for alkali materials, Acid for acidic materials, and CARC for carcinogenic materials. The letter W with a line through it stands for high reactivity to water. [Figure 11-2]

The Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) is a more detailed version of the chemical safety issues. They all have the same information requirements, but the exact location of the information on the sheet varies by MSDS manufacturer. These forms have the detailed breakdown of the chemicals, including formulas and action to take if personnel come into contact with the chemical(s). The U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires certain information be on every MSDS.

These forms are necessary for a safe shop that meets all the requirements of the governing safety body, the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

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